Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reducing my wait time at the dentist

If you have read my post about my wait times at the dentist http://littlebylittlechange.blogspot.com/2008/11/muda-monday-waiting-at-dentist.html, you know I don't like to sit around doing nothing. I spent some time trying to figure out how to reduce my waiting when I realized that I should just call and ask since they are a stakeholder in this process. Fortunately, the office called me to schedule a follow-up appointment. Here's how that conversation went:

Dentist office: "I called you today to schedule an appointment for a follow-up on your root canal"

Kaizeneer: "OK. I just wanted to let you know, that I measured my wait times the last two times I was there. The first time I waited 40 minutes for the root canal, the second time I waited for 45 minutes. I wanted to inform you that I if I have to wait more than 15 minutes for my appointment, I will cancel my appointment and re-schedule."

Dentist office: (slight concern in voice) "Oh. Well if you do not want to wait, I would suggest scheduling your appointment when we open at 7:30 or at 1PM after we return from lunch."

I'm pretty sure that my data and my promise to wait 15 minutes and cancel motivated the person that called me to offer this kaizen. To their credit, they responded with a way to improve my service and keep my business. Regardless, I will take my stopwatch and report back to see if I experienced a reduction in wait time. So, take some measurements of the service you receive and share the results with the business you are measuring. If they respond well, they surely value your patronage. If they don't respond, it's time to find one that does. The data you take share removes the fuzziness and provides objective metrics which can be improved. To quote William Deming, father of the modern quality movement:

"In God we trust, all others bring data."

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

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